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Majdanek - The perpetrators



Monument at Majdanek Memorial. Contains ashes of bodies found around the concentration camp

       Majdanek could boast more commanders in its short lifetime than any other camp. In quick succession command over the camp went to the following SSers; First, SS-Standartenführer - SS-Colonel Karl Otto Koch, from September 1941 to July 1942, second, SS-Hauptsturmführer - SS-Captain Max Kögel from August until October 1942, third, SS-Führer und KZ-Lagerkommandant - SS Leader and concentrationcamp commandant Hermann Florstedt from October 1942 until September 1943 when he was executed by the Nazis for corruption in 1943, forth, SS-Obersturmbannführer - SS-Lt. Colonel Martin Gottfried Weiß from September 1943 to May 1944 and fifth, SS-Obersturmbannführer - SS-Lt. Colonel Arthur Liebehenschel from May until 22 Juli 1944. But the actual authority rested with SS Obersturmführer - SS-1st Lt. Anthony Thernes. Thernes acted with cruel authority under all five commandants. He was captured by the Soviets and tried and executed on the spot.

Karl Koch -
Sep '41 to Jul '42

Max Kögel -
Aug '42 to Oct '42

Hermann Florstedt -
Oct '42 to Sep '43

 

 

 

Martin Weisz -
Sep '43 to May '44

Arthur Liebehenschel -
May '44 to jul 22 '44

Anthony Thernes


       Karl Otto Koch, the first commandant of Majdanek, was soon relieved of his command. He was charged with stealing from the camp warehouses where plunder taken from the Jewish victims was kept. He was tried by a German court and executed before the end of the war. Hermann Florstedt also was executed by the Nazis after he was convicted by a Nazi court on charges of stealing from the camp warehouses. Strange as it may seem under the given circumstances, there were 800 recorded cases of cruelty and corruption in concentration camps which were tried by Dr. Konrad Morgan, the legal investigator for the Kripo, Kriminal Polizei - Criminal Police in the Reich - Empire. As a result, a total of 200 SS men, who at one time or another, were in charge of concentration camps were convicted. Included in this ignominious group was the notorious Amon Goeth, commandant of Plaszow. This camp of horror became well-documented as a result of the movie "Schindler's List."

       Two commandants of the Majdanek camp were tried by the Allies after the war; Max Kögel was sentenced to death by a British court in 1946 and Martin Weiss received the death sentence in an American court, also in 1946. Arthur Liebehenschel, the last commandant of the camp, was sent to Majdanek in 1944 after having served as the commandant of Auschwitz I for several months. When Majdanek was evacuated in July 1944, he was sent to Triest. After the war, Liebehenschel was convicted by the Supreme People's Court in Krakow and executed. The trial of the remaining Majdanek SS officers and regular officers finally took place in 1976-77 in Düsseldorf, Germany.